Name: Zachary B.
Hometown: Evanston, IL
Anticipated Major(s): Math
Anticipated Minor(s): Jewish Studies
How did you discover Hopkins and why did you decide to apply? I first heard about Hopkins when a family friend mentioned that he went there and had an amazing experience. After doing a bit more research, I figured it was worth a shot to apply. I decided to commit because of the amazing people that I met on the Hopkins Discord server and a feeling that I belonged after visiting the campus—plus I saw a blue jay the day before and took it as a sign. I’m so excited to get to Baltimore in the fall and met everyone!
If you could teach one class at Hopkins, what would it be? (already exists or invented by you!) If I could teach one class it would be called “A Elbereth Gilthoniel: Theology in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Arda.” I have loved Tolkien’s work and world for years and, in recent times, have loved returning to long journeys in Eriador, Rhovanion and Beleriand searching for both escapism and the exact opposite, meaningful stories that I can bring into my own life. Thinking about the theology and philosophy his stories embody (e.g. eucatastrophe, the long defeat, living with exile, the power of love and mercy, inexorable hope, etc.), I find that there is so much to explore and that I love to do so.
What do you hope to get involved in on campus? On campus, there’s a lot of things that I hope to get involved in but the three that most stand out to me are the Hopkins News-Letter, Hopkins Hillel, and research in general. I’ve written and edited by high school newspaper and would love to be able to continue that experience at Hopkins while meeting cool people and learning about my new school community. The Hillel also attracts my eye because I want to be able to continue my Jewish life and meet more Jews at Hopkins, plus they have free food once a week. Lastly, I want to get involved in research; I’m not quite sure what that means yet, but I know I’m interested in trying it out.
What’s your best piece of college search advice for high school students? My best piece of college search advice for high school students is a) if you know where you want to go, apply ED; I wish that I didn’t have that stress on me for the rest of the year, and b) trust your gut, especially if there are a lot of great options available to you.
What book, album/song, or TV show has had a profound influence on your life? While it may be cliched at this point, The Office has been the show with the greatest impact on my life. While there are definitely flaws with the show, there is a reason that I’ve watched it over and over again since sophomore year. The Office is a show about how spending time in a single place with the same people, turns those people into a family; that family may be a tad dysfunctional or out of control, but they’re still a family. This notion of shared experiences creating community—as Michael put it “the people that you work with are just, when you get down to it, your very best friends”—has been fundamental as I’ve worked to understand myself. Furthermore, the show has taught me, not unlike my favorite philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel, that “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” You don’t need flashy events to live a meaningful life; I don’t particularly want a flashy life, just a life worth living, with people who care about and for you. Lastly, the show’s reminded me that “No matter how you get there, or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” I’m excited to call Hopkins my home for the next few years!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (dream big!) In 10 years, I hope to be in the early stages of my career as a rabbi, working at a synagogue somewhere. I’d also hope to have a long-term partner that I could see myself spending the rest of my life with and have a cute doggo.